Contact: Nadeam Elshami/Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616
San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement on the passing of Dr. Fang Lizhi, 76, a Chinese human rights leader and a Physicist at the University of Arizona. Dr. Fang was a leading proponent of democratic reform in China in the late 1980s. His leadership helped spark the pro-democracy movement in China and inspired thousands of Chinese citizens to advocate for freedom and human rights.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to Dr. Fang Lizhi’s family, his wife Li Shuxian, his friends, and his colleagues at this difficult time. Dr. Fang was a hero to those who have worked to promote democracy and human rights in China.
“He was a brilliant scientist with enormous moral authority at a pivotal time in Chinese history. He put his life and livelihood in danger in the late 1980s by challenging the Chinese government to allow for political and economic reform. His leadership inspired thousands of democracy and human rights advocates throughout China and helped spark a movement that spread to Shanghai and Beijing.
“In 1989, he wrote a famous letter to the Chinese government calling for the release political prisoners. Dr. Fang and his family were soon forced to take refuge at the U.S. Embassy as the Chinese government rolled out the tanks and crushed the protestors in Tiananmen Square. One year later, Dr. Fang was allowed to leave China and continue his career in physics in Arizona and continue to speak out on democracy and human rights.
“Dr. Fang Lizhi will be remembered as one of the strongest voices for democracy in China. His leadership is an inspiration, and we must honor his memory by continuing to promote his vision for a brighter future for the Chinese people."